Alison Balsom is one of 27 seriously big talents chosen by the BBC to record an extravagant cover version of the Beach Boys 1966 classic God Only Knows, celebrating the launch of BBC Music, described by the media service as "an ambitious wave of new programmes, innovative partnerships and ground-breaking music initiatives that amount to the BBC’s strongest commitment to music in 30 years".
The single's accompanying video is as extravagant as the line-up, dubbed "The Impossible Orchestra" by the BBC, featuring artists from all genres including Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Florence Welch, Jamie Cullum, Coldplay's Chris Martin, and the song's originator Brian Wilson each singing or playing a line from the Pet Sounds hit. (Other classical musicians include violinist Nicola Benedetti and soprano Danielle de Niese — accompanied by the 80-piece BBC Concert Orchestra.)
The clip features Alison Balsom in a regal golden feathered gown, playing trumpet suspended in a giant bird cage. Meanwhile, Kylie Minogue floats by in a bubble as London's Alexandra Palace Theatre is transformed into a lush jungle paradise.
Balsom and the other artists gave their time for free, with the single released today in aid of BBC Children in Need, a cause close to the trumpeter's heart. The track, a first-time collaboration between Warner, Sony and Universal Music, is available to download with the proceeds going to charity.
The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson said: "All of the artists did such a beautiful job. I can’t thank them enough. God Only Knows is a very special song, an extremely spiritual song and one of the best I’ve ever written."